“civil war vet/camel”
Overall, it's safe to say that the Siege of Vicksburg was a pretty rough loss for the Confederate Army-- not just because it was a major turning point during the war, but also because during the battle the Confederate Army lost their beloved camel, Old Douglas. Camels may not exactly be part of most people's mental images of the Civil War, but there were actually a few, the last remaining members of an ultimately failed project known as the US Camel Corps. Before the Civil War started, Jefferson Davis was actually one of the most vocally in favor of starting a US Camel Corps back in the 1840's-- since horses kept dying of dehydration as people pushed further and further into the arid deserts of the West, it was thought that bringing in camels, which are already adapted to the hot, dry desert conditions, would be a good solution. Davis finally got approval for the project (as well as $30,000 to purchase some camels) in 1855. While the creatures were able to move through the desert faster and with less water than horses, they proved to be difficult to work with and spooked other animals. By the time the Civil War rolled around in 1861, the US Camel Corps was all but forgotten. No one is sure how Douglas wound up with Company A of the Forty-third Mississippi Infantry in the Confederate Army, but he became their mascot of sorts. They became known as "the Camel Regiment", and Douglas served his men well, carrying supplies and knapsacks for the soldiers. Although the men were fond of Douglas, their horses weren't; the camel reportedly spooked one into starting a stampede that injured and maybe even killed several of them. Sadly, during the Siege of Vicksburg, Douglas was shot and killed by a Union sharpshooter. The company's colonel, Col. Bevier, was so enraged at Douglas's murder that he ordered his 6 best snipers to fire on the solider who shot the camel-- they were successful. However, that didn't stop Douglas's body from falling into Union hands; according to legend, they carved the camel up, ate him, and made souvenirs of his bones. It's not all bad news, though...Douglas was honored with his own grave marker at a Vicksburg cemetery, which is definitely something not reserved for the average packhorse. You can still pay your respects to the stalwart animal at Grave of Douglas the Camel! -Roadtrippers Douglas The Camel, or “Old Douglas,” was a domesticated camel used by Company A of the Forty-third Mississippi Infantry, part of the Confederate Army during the American Civil War. Douglas is currently honored with his own grave marker in Vicksburg's Cedar Hill Cemetery, in Vicksburg, Mississippi.
This was a highlight for me. Very interesting story. The grounds keeper at the cemetery helped us find Douglas' grave. He was so helpful and shared many other interesting facts about the cemetery with us.
Directions: Cedar Hill Cemetery. I-20 exit 4A or 4B. Drive west on Clay St. for one mile. Turn right onto Mission 66. Drive north one mile. Turn right onto Sky Farm Ave. Drive a quarter-mile. Turn left into cemetery (Lindsey St.). Drive only a few hundred feet. Just before you get to the second possible left turn within the cemetery, look to the left; you'll see a small group of Confederate tombstones (some should have Confederate flags). The camel is on the right side of that group, second row in. There's a camel on his tombstone. - See more at: http://www.roadsideamerica.com/tip/41405#sthash.r6Rss7RZ.dpuf
PS - if you have time, facing Douglas' grave, look up the hill (and slightly to the right) and see the beautiful piano shaped headstone
Thankful for specific directions from previous reviewer. What an interesting piece of history!
Really lovely cemetery - quite peaceful, and beautifully manicured. The cenotaph to Old Douglas was such a nice bit of lagniappe. And I would not have known about the memorial in my new home town, were it not for the RT link. Very cool.
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Grave of Douglas the Camel
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